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With the advent of RFID technology, object Identification has been boosted to a higher level of technology. No longer restricted to the Big Guys, its now quite affordable and has a much realistic return of investments. We help implement for you, a value-for-money RFID solution that makes object identification seem like magic!

The following is an article demonstrating how a manufacturing unit can be RFID Enabled.Though the example is for an automobile manufacturer, the same principles can be applied to any other process manufacturer.

RFID Solution

How Automotive Manufacturing WIP Delivers Results:
  • If you've never set foot in an automotive factory, here's the scene: The assembly process involves multiple stages. During stage one, the as-yet wheel-less vehicle chassis is placed on a carrier, a steel frame with wheels.
  • As the vehicle-in-progress moves from stage to stage, additional components are added to the chassis until it's finished. Different vehicles require various stages, numbering up to the hundreds. Not all assembly proceeds this way, but it's common.
  • Manufacturings scale makes this interesting: A typical plant may hold thousands of partially assembled vehicles; It's extremely difficult to track and differentiate them, without reading the serial number. The same is true for numerous and varied auto components.
  • Years ago, Manufacturers began using bar codes to improve vehicle and part identification and tracking. But there was a glitch: bar-code labels don't hold up under manufacturing conditions and metal-etched bar codes don't read accurately. Even worse, as components are added during assembly, lines of sight become obstructed, making it nearly impossible to obtain a reliable bar code scan.
  • In typical WIP applications, workers scan vehicle bar codes as the assembly line moves, logging stage transitions in the manufacturing control system. This manual process may only take a few seconds (assuming an easy scan); but it is done repeatedly on each chassis, as it travels down the assembly line. If each developing car is scanned hundreds of times, Multiplied by thousands of cars being built,it adds up quickly.
  • Real trouble arises when someone misses a scan. This omission not only disrupts tracking and metrics, but it can scramble or delay a special order, since most manufacturers build special order vehicles on the same line as standard vehicles. Further tracking challenges arise if a vehicle is removed from the line due to an exception, such as damage requiring off-line repair. The removed vehicle's bar code must be scanned, Once it's moved to the repair area, or it's essentially missing. This re-scanning is a commonly forgotten action.
  • The automotive industry adopted RFID for WIP years ago; and here's where the technology shines.It has improve upon the bar code technology because it eliminated human intervention, and line of sight visibility needs, In the scanning process.The tags were created to be more durable than the bar codes. The end result is faster, even real-time, and more accurate read rates.
  • These tags used cost about $3.00. That may seem expensive, but consider that the tag, like the carrier, is used hundreds of times. With per-use cost less than a penny, that's a much better value than a single-use tag costing 20 cents.
  • RFID antennas are mounted at each stage. At stage one, the bar code on a vehicle chassis is scanned and associated with the number on the carrier's RFID tag. After that, the bar code needn't be scanned. RFID readers automatically notify the manufacturing system when a vehicle enters or exits a stage. For special orders, a computer connected to an RFID reader displays tasks to perform for specific vehicles as they enter the stage. When a vehicle leaves a stage, that's recorded, so if a vehicle is taken off the line, the system knows the stage to return it to.
  • Clearly the auto manufacturers are finding ROI with these RFID solutions. ROI isn't about the destination; it comes from the journey too -- sometimes along an assembly line.
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